The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, August 26, 2002  

Rep. Greenwood, Please Call Your Office

Steve Forbes now confronts the biggest challenge to the family business since the Depression. Forbes, which became one of the richest magazines in America by serving as a totem for conspicuous wealth, is a little short these days,” reports David Carr in a lengthy piece in today’s New York Times (“Now Steve is Running to Revive Forbes”).

“It has fallen to third in ad pages in its category, after leading Fortune and Business Week for most of the 1990’s, according to the Publisher’s Information Bureau. It has lost almost half its advertising pages the last two years, and newsstand sales, a measure of current consumer interest, were down almost 14 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the corresponding period last year,” according to the Times.

“The Forbes dynasty, composed of four sons and a daughter of Malcolm S. Forbes, is hardly bereft, but there are significant signs of stress,” reports Carr. “The company’s generous 401k plan, which had provided a 2-for-1 match for employees, was discontinued earlier this year, and some of the family’s lavish collections -- including Lincoln’s final address as president -- have been auctioned in the last year, raising $30 million.”

In addition, according to the Times, “Senior management has taken a significant pay cut, and the company has engaged in modest layoffs, a rare event at Forbes.”

Forbes maintains the magazine’s privately held parent company, Forbes Inc., is acting out of prudence, not panic. Carr quotes Forbes: “Everything that we have been doing in the last year is in response to an environment, a falloff that hasn’t been seen since the 30’s. No one is immune. We write about that all the time.”

Does Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.) have any more of those hand baskets?

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